Sunday, 1 June 2008

$4.1 million for Bundaberg's child abuse victims

The Bligh Government will invest $4.1 million over the next three years to provide homes and specialist care to young Bundaberg people who have been seriously abused and neglected.
Child Safety Minister Margaret Keech, who will be speaking in Bundaberg at a lunch for foster and kinship carers today, said the funding included $2.5 million in new funds to establish new and enhanced residential care services and a new supported independent living service for vulnerable young people.
"Sadly, many young people who come into the Department of Child Safety's care have complex behaviours, physical or intellectual disabilities, or mental health issues because of the abuse or neglect they have faced," Mrs Keech said.
"The new and enhanced services will provide these young people with a safe and stable place to live, along with the intensive care and support they need to begin rebuilding their lives."
The services will be operated by:
Integrated Family and Youth Service: up to $1.72 million renewed and additional funding over 3 years to provide safe places to live for people 12-17 years at Haven House. A worker is onsite 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Lifestyle Solutions: up to $1.77 million in new funding over 3 years to provide safe places to live in a group house for people 12-17 years. A worker is onsite 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Churches of Christ Care - Pathways: up to $0.69 million in new funding over 3 years to provide safe places to live in a house for young people 16-17 years. A youth worker provides support for the young people for about 20 hours a week.
Mrs Keech said the Bligh Government had allocated more than $3.3 million to community agencies in 2007-08 to deliver vital child protection services in Bundaberg.
"Our community partners help us provide a safety net for children of families who are struggling to keep it together," Mrs Keech said.
"I would like to thank them for their ongoing efforts to give these children a better start in life."
Mrs Keech also congratulated Bundaberg's growing band of foster and kinship carers for providing safe and stable homes to children and young people in their care.
"At 31 March this year there were approximately 80 foster and kinship carers in Bundaberg providing homes to around 180 abused, neglected and at risk children and young people," she said.
"Each of these carers are valued partners in providing homes for children who have suffered abuse or neglect.
"Child protection is a tremendous responsibility and the government needs the help and support of local communities, community organisations and carers to shoulder this responsibility."
At the Bundaberg carers' lunch, Mrs Keech will present a certificate of appreciation to 100 Days of Change campaigner Grant Reedy. Mr Reedy is running a campaign to raise funds and awareness for victims of child abuse and neglect.
Mrs Keech will also visit the Bundaberg Child Safety Service Centre to thank staff for their ongoing work protecting vulnerable children and young people in the region.
For the year ending 30 June 2007, the Bundaberg Child Safety Service Centre recorded about 600 notifications of harm or risk of harm to children and young people. Of these notifications, there were approximately 90 substantiated cases of harm or risk of harm.

Source: Ministerial Media Release

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